Tuesday, November 3, 2015

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Tuesday...

Here is a look at some new decor just outside Newman Arena.

  • Catching up with the alumni in the pros, after 6 games, Deion Giddens (Cornell '15) is averaging 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for Iserlohn in Germany's Pro B.  Devin Cherry (Cornell '15) is posting a steady 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game through 6 games for SISU Copenhagen in Denmark.  Finally, in Italy's LPB, Drew Ferry (Cornell '12) is posting 11.7 points per game as a starter through 6 games.
Cornell Season Preview – Youth Must Be Served  
This year’s 2015-16 Cornell season preview comes from Barry Leonard, who is looking forward to his 24th year providing top-notch radio broadcasting of Big Red hoops.
As he enters year number six as the head coach of Cornell basketball, Bill Courtney will embrace the phrase “Youth must be served.”
Eight freshman comprise the 19-man roster, and several will have to play immediate minutes for the Big Red.  The graduation of All-Ivy do-everything forward Shonn Miller, Galal Cancer and others has opened up playing time in what will be a spirited competition for minutes. Two returning starters, both juniors, will be counted on heavily.
It starts with 6-9 big man David Onuorah, who looked much improved in the team’s annual Red/White game on Oct. 24. The Atlanta native will need to stay out of foul trouble and be a force both defensively and as a rebounder. He also showed more polished post moves in the game. Fellow junior Robert Hatter will also log major playing time and his end-to-end speed will make him a tough cover for teams in transition. The third junior who will most likely see increased playing time is guard Daryl Smith, who is a tenacious defender and adept at slashing to the basket.
Keeping with the third-year vets, guard JoJo Fallas was a pleasant surprise off the bench as a sophomore and provides outside shooting and energy off the bench.  Rising sophomores Wil Bathurst and Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof will also be counted on to produce this season. Bathurst, showed a hint of his promise in last season’s finale, scoring 20 points at Penn, and he fits the Bill Courtney mold of an athletic swing man who can run, jump and score, though he needs to improve his defense. At 6-7, Abdur-Ra’oof can stretch the floor with his outside shooting and saw increased minutes in Ivy play last season. Just two seniors are on the roster, guard Robert Mischler, a good long distance shooter, and much maligned center Braxston Bunce, who has battled injuries his entire career.
But perhaps the most intriguing question for me, fans, coaches and those connected with the program is the promise of the freshman class. Guard Matt Morgan from Concord, N.C. looks like an instant contributor with ball handling skills and a good outside shot. Burly first-year forward Donovan Wright from Easton, Pa. is a bull underneath the bucket while 6-4 guard Troy Whiteside from Knoxville, Tenn. has the skills to see minutes off the bench.
Courtney has always emphasized an uptempo style, particularly pushing the pace in transition from defense to offense. With the continued improvement of the returning upperclassmen, combined with this athletic freshman class, he may finally be able to play the full 40 minutes of intense, pressure-laced defense he has craved.  The schedule, while not as daunting as years past, features trips to play traditional powers Georgia Tech (opener on Nov. 13) along with Pittsburgh (Nov. 25) and the annual trip up the road to Syracuse (Dec. 19).
In terms of predictions, as the team matures heading into Ivy play in mid-January, I can see this as team capable of double-digit victories (10-14 win range), with a much bigger jump one year from now.  Building team chemistry early will be a key with so many new faces, and while there may be some struggles due to the youth early, the upside is huge!
Reading the Ivy tea leaves – Cornell roundup

IHO has reached out to folks who cover or follow each Ivy program to gauge what they’re looking forward to most about this upcoming season and how they expect the team will fare in 2015-16. First up, the team projected in the Ivy Preseason Media Poll to finish last in the Ivy League this season, the Cornell Big Red:

Eric Bolin, Arkansas Razorbacks beat writer for Arkansas News Bureau, Cornell ’06: Honestly, I’m looking forward to winning more than one game against a Division I opponent this year. Hopefully. My biggest fear is Cornell 2015-16 is like Cornell 2013-14. It shouldn’t be that bad if for no other reason than Robert Hatter is an All-Ivy type. That doesn’t, of course, mean he’ll make all-conference, but he should garner some attention for it. I do wonder where the rest of the scoring will come from (Daryl Smith, maybe?), though. And, really, any defense whatsoever. Optimism says double-digit wins. Realism figures about five or six. No one is going to like losing to Penn, either, now that Donahue is back in the fold. If that happens, I really wonder how much more time Courtney has left.
Richard Shapiro,  Cornell Daily Sun, 1982-85:
My thoughts on Cornell this year:  Where will the scoring come from?  Other than Robert Hatter and to a lesser extent, JoJo Fallas, there’s really no one on the roster who has shown the capability of scoring at the College level. Wil Bathurst and Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof showed flashes, and maybe one of them will emerge.  Or perhaps one or two freshmen make a big splash (Stone Gettings and Matt Morgan seem like the most likely candidates).

The team does have some athleticism, with David Onuorah providing a presence on the defensive end especially.  He’ll be looked to for greater offensive production as well.
There is still a real question whether Bill Courtney has the ability to be an effective D-1 head coach, and his pressing, helter-skelter style has not proven successful in the Ivy League.  With a young team this year, even the most ardent Big Red fan likely has fairly low expectations.
Join in the fun. What do you expect from the Cornell Big Red in 2015-16? A surprising leap to the middle of the pack? A disaster reminiscent of the 2-26 2013-14 campaign? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Shonn Miller (Cornell '15) gets attention in the Hartford Courant and on Black Sheep.  The latter writes, "Yesterday we got to see the UConn debut of Shonn Miller. Miller is a 6'7'' forward who transferred from Cornell and is finishing his last year of eligibility as a Husky. Let us tell you, this kid is nasty. He averaged 17 points and 8.5 boards a game last year, and brings an extremely versatile game to the forward position. So we know that he is a beast on the court, but who is Shonn as a person? The Black Sheep did what we do best, and creeped the shit outta his Twitter. Here is what we learned: He's a Cornell Graduate: This man is smart as hell. Went to Cornell to get a great education and a degree, saw he had a year of eligibility left, so why not get a degree from a place like Cornell, and win a national championship at a place like UConn? Always thinking Miller, always thinking."  Speaking of Miller, some highlights:


james lattin said...

there is no reason for optimism except maybe that the youngsters will gel as a unit and make a statement next season..its gonna be a long winter on east hill

james lattin said...

a long long winter on east hill. maybe the youngsters will gel as a unit and bring a modicum of hope for next season

Jonny U said...

Glad to see Miller will finally have his chance on the national stage. He looks good. Really good.